Just like a good game of chess requires strategy, a planned approach is key to navigating the many decisions and complex processes involved in medical device manufacturing. Product design affects all aspects of the project that follow, from production to distribution. Without Design for Manufacturing principles, defective parts and assembly errors could checkmate your project’s timeline and cost.
Design for Manufacturing (DFM) principles are the guidelines an engineer uses when designing a product so it’s easier and more affordable to make in bulk. According to a study by the International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering, an effective DFM approach can reduce medical equipment production time by 75 percent and cost by eight percent. DFM allows changes to be made in iterations during the design phase, which is the easiest time to consider alternative, more efficient options and make changes before a product is sent to production. This way, an engineer can simultaneously consider product goals and manufacturing constraints.
The production process will likely include a company’s suppliers, material handling procedures, manufacturing processes, labor force, and distribution systems. Therefore, it is essential to address potential flaws in the design phase to reduce material and labor cost. Using DFM, manufacturers can identify parts that can be standardized within their facility or through outside vendors so they can better estimate the cost of the project and make components at lower cost for their client.
DFM guidelines differ across the industry, but with a singular goal—to cut costs and design a robust product—the general strategies remain the same:
- Reduce the number of parts to minimize chances of a defective part or assembly error and lower the cost of fabrication. Planning for fewer parts and interfaces will simplify purchases, inventory, handling, processing, development time, equipment, and more.
- Design the product with multifunctional components like structural, electrical, or self-fastening features to minimize reorientation of parts and required assembly personnel. Small, cumbersome parts like fasteners, spacers, washers, o-rings, connectors, and leads could be eliminated with a more efficient design.
- Design parts for easy retrieval, handling, and inspection by considering size, slipperiness, sharpness, and flexibility.
- Identify opportunities to reduce secondary operations like painting, polishing, or welding.
If DFM guidelines aren’t followed, resources may be wasted and it may take more time to get the product to market. At Via Biomedical, we follow efficient Design for Manufacturing guidelines so we can ensure on-time and on-budget outcomes. Our complete manufacturing capabilities streamline the entire process, from product development to material selection and prototyping.
Contact us to learn more.